San Francisco History
 

Timeline


3000 B.C.
 
2950
Earliest known San Francisco burial: a 24-26 year old woman was found at the excavation of the Civic Center BART station in 1969.
1400 A.D.
 
1492
Christopher Columbus set foot on the New World (12 Oct).
1500
 
1542
Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo sailed along the coast near San Francisco and discovered the Farallones (16 Nov).
1575
Sebastian Rodriguez Cermeno landed in Drake's Bay, claimed the land for Spain, and named it Puerto de San Francisco (7 Nov).
1579
Sir Francis Drake landed in Drake's Bay, claimed the land for England, and named it Nova Albion (17 June).
1600
 
1603
Sebastian Vizcaino anchored in Drake's Bay (8 Jan)
1700
 
1752
Britain and the colonies under its control adopted the Gregorian calendar.
1754
French-Indian war began (3 July).
1764
French-Indian war ended (16 Nov).
1769
Scouts, including Jose Francisco Ortega, from a Spanish expedition lead by Don Gaspar de Portola discovered the Golden Gate (2 Nov).
1775
The Revolutionary War between the American colonies and Britain officially began (19 Apr).
  Don Juan Manuel de Ayala, anchored the packet boat San Carlos, the first ship into San Francisco Bay, near Sausalito (5 Aug). Over the next month he completed the first survey of the bay. 
1776
A small Spanish expedition lead by Juan Bautista de Anza reached the Presidio and surveyed the area (27 Mar).
A Spanish colonization party lead by Lieutenant Moraga reached the original site of Mission Dolores (27 June).
Father Francisco Palou offered the first mass at the original site of Mission Dolores (28 June).
United States of America declared its Independence from Britain (July 4).
The first non-native child, Francisco Josef de los Dolores Soto, son of Ygnacio de Soto and Maria Barbara Espinosa, was born at Mission Dolores (Aug).
The Presidio of San Francisco de Asis was officially dedicated (17 Sep).
The Mission of San Francisco de Asis was officially dedicated (9 Oct). The name eventually became the Mission de los Dolores de nuestro Padre San Francisco de Asis, and currently is referred to simply as Mission Dolores.
1783
Revolutionary War was officially ended with the signing of The Treaty of Paris 1783, and the United States is recognized as a sovereign nation (3 Sep).
1787
Continental Congress approved the Constitution and sends it to the states to have it ratified (17 Sep).
1791
United States Congress adopted the Bill of Rights (containing the first ten Amendments) (15 Dec).
Current Mission Dolores (construction began in 1788) was dedicated (Aug 2).
1792
Captain George Vancouver sailed into San Francisco Bay (14 Nov).
1800
 
1810
 
1810
Beginning of the Mexican Independence from Spain (16 Sep).
1810-1811
Russian hunting station existed at the Farallones.
1812
United States declared war on Britain, beginning the War of 1812 (18 June).
1814
War of 1812 was officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Ghent  (24 Dec).
1820
 
1821
Mexico was declared a independent state (17 Sep).
1830
 
1834
The new Pueblo of San Francisco held elections (7 Dec).
1836
William Richardson received a grant of land in Yerba Buena (1 June).
American flag was raised for the first time in honor of Independence Day (4 July).
1838
Rosalia Leese was the first non-native child born in Yerba Buena (15 Apr).
1839
Jean Jacques Vioget completed a survey of Yerba Buena and laid out the first streets, twelve blocks in an area bounded by California and Montgomery streets and Pacific and Grant avenues.
1840
 
1846
Mexican-American War began with the Battle of Palo Alto (8 May).
United States declared war on Mexico (13 May).
Donner Party started their journey west (Spring).
Bear Flag Revolt in Sonoma, California (14 June).
United States took possession of that portion of California which includes San Francisco (7 July).
Captain John B. Montgomery hoisted the American flag in Portsmouth Square (9 July).
The Brooklyn sailed from New York and anchored near Yerba Buena with 240 Mormons on board (31 July).
1847
The California Star became the first newspaper published in San Francisco by Samuel Brannan (7 Jan).
A relief party was sent from Yerba Buena to the aid of the Donner Party (Jan).
Yerba Buena name changed to San Francisco by an ordinance published in the California Star newspaper by Washington A. Bartlett, Chief Magistrate (30 Jan).
Jasper O'Farrell completed a survey of San Francisco (Bartlett's map), covering 800 acres extending to Leavenworth and Fourth streets.
1848
John W. Marshall discovered gold at Sutter's Mill (24 Jan).
Mexican-American War ended with the signing of the Guadalupe Hidalgo treaty (2 Feb).
John C. Fremont named the Golden Gate (June).
President Polk delivers his address to the nation and mentions gold in California (5 Dec).
1849
San Francisco citizens elected a Legislative Assembly (21 Feb). It was replaced by Military Governor of California Riley when he restored the Ayuntamiento of the Pueblo of San Francisco (5 June).
First regular police department established (13 Aug).
California residents voted to become part of the United States of America (11 Nov).
Beginning of the six Great Fires (24 Dec). The other five occurred on 4 May 1850, 14 June 1850, 17 September 1850, 4 May 1851, and 22 June 1851.
1850
 
1850
Yerba Buena Cemetery opened (Feb).
California Legislature created the original counties, including San Francisco (18 Feb). The original boundaries for San Francisco County extended southward to "the southeastern extremity of the southern arm of the Laguna de la Merced." It also included Angel Island until 1854. In 1856, San Mateo County was created from the southern portion of the old San Francisco County, and the southern boundary was set near the current line. The San Francisco County government established on 1 April.
California Legislature approved the City Charter of San Francisco. The 1850 City Charter established the following boundaries: on the south, a line parallel to Clay Street, two miles south from Portsmouth square; on the west, a line parallel to Kearny Street, one and a half miles from the square; on the north and est, the county limits (15 Apr).
Local run on banks (7 Sep).
California was the 31st state admitted to the Union (9 Sep).
San Francisco received first news of state admission (18 Oct).
Cholera epidemic (Oct-Dec).
1851
William M. Eddy completed a survey of San Francisco (Second Official Map) and extended its limits to Larkin, Eighth, and Townsend streets.
First orphan asylum was created by the Protestants (31 Jan).
First Committee of Viligance organized (9 June - Oct).
1852
Domingo Ghiradelli announced the opening of his chocolate company (15 June).
San Francisco Gas Company organized by Donahue brothers (Peter, Michael and James)  (31 August)
1853
Russ Gardens, at Harrison and Sixth streets, opened (1 May).
  First electric telegraph used (between Merchant's Exchange and Point Lobos) (11 Sep).
Fortifications began on Alcatraz Island.
1854
First branch of the U.S. Mint was opened on Commercial street, between Montgomery and Kearny.
Lone Mountain Cemetery dedicated (30 May)
Laurel Hill Cemetery dedicated (28 June).
1855-1856
Van Ness Ordinances approved to lay out streets west of Larkin Street and southwest of Johnson Street.
1856
James King of William, Evening Bulletin editor, shot and killed (14 May).
Consolidation Act of 1856, combining the City and County of San Francisco went into effect (1 July).
San Mateo County was created from a southern portion of San Francisco County.
Second Committee of Vigilance organized (15 May - 18 Aug).
First California paper mill was established in Tomales Bay (1 Oct).
1857
Stock Market Panic.
Citadel constructed on Alcatraz Island.
San Francisco Water Works organized (15 June).
1859
Comstock Lode discovered near Virginia City, Nevada.
Joshua Abraham Norton (1819-1880) declared himself Norton I, Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico (17 Sep).
1860
 
1860
Pony Express began service from St. Joseph, Missouri to San Francisco (3 Apr).
The Mission Street Railroad began operation (4 July).
Telegraph service between San Francisco and Los Angeles established (8 Oct).
Calvary Cemetery dedicated (8 Nov). 
1861
New official city map created, including all of the additions of the 1856 Consolidation Act.
Alcatraz fort was designated as the official U.S. Army prison for the western states and territories.
The current Fort Point completed (15 Feb).
The Civil War began when Confederate forces assaulted Fort Sumter (12 Apr).
The Confederacy declared war on the Union (6 May).
Pony Express ceased operations 19 months after it began (Nov).
1862
Homestead Act passed.
First escape attempt from Alcatraz.
Telegraph service between San Francisco and New York established (6 Nov).
1863
The Emancipation Proclamation was issued by President Lincoln (1 Jan).
Central Pacific Railroad contruction began in Sacramento (8 Jan).
Lazarus, a famous, local dog died (Oct). Between 1861 and 1865, Bummer and Lazarus were well-known and newspaper articles were written about the pair. Their claim to fame was that they hunted rats which was a major problem at the time. Bummer later died in Nov 1865.
San Francisco Railroad (predecessor to CalTrain) opened for regular service to Palo Alto. Initial terminal at 18th and Valencia streets (Oct).
First Cliff House opened (15 Oct).
1864
San Francisco Railroad line was completed to San Jose (16 Jan).
Mark Twain was a reporter for the San Francisco Daily Morning Call (June-Oct). He also later wrote travel articles for the Alta California between 1867 and 1869.
World's Horse Fair opened at the Bay View Park (2 Sep).
1865
The Dramatic Chronicle, later changed to The Chronicle first published (1 Jan).
  Civil War ended when The Confederate States of America surrendered (9 Apr).
The Examiner first published (1 June).
Odd Fellow's Cemetery dedicated (19 Nov).
1866
Woodward's Gardens opened.
1868
Early Wednesday morning at 7:53 a.m., an earthquake (magnitude 7.0) occurred along the Hayward fault (21October).
1869
Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railoads connected in Promontory, Utah, creating a transcontinental railroad (10 May).
1870
 
1870
Golden Gate Park created by an act of California Legislature (4 Apr).
San Francisco Railroad consolidated with Central Pacific Railroad into the new Southern Pacific (Oct).
1871
Yerba Buena Cemetery removed.
Sweeney & Baugh Signal Station on Telegraph Hill burnt down.
Father Joseph M. Neri publically displays an electric light at St. Ignatius College on Market street.
1872
Hayes Park Pavilion destroyed by fire (29 Nov). 
1873
Jacob Davis designed the first Levi jeans. He became partners with Levi Strauss, obtained a patent for the jeans, and began selling them in the same year.
San Francisco Gas Light Company, representing a merger of the San Francisco Gas Company, the City Gas Company, and the Metropolitan Gas Company, was incorporated (1 Apr).
Andrew S. Hallidie tested his first cable car system near the top of Nob Hill at Clay and Jones Streets (2 Aug). The next month the Clay Street line started public service.
Stock Market Crash (18 Sep).
Bay District Race Track opened (12 Nov).
1874
Second U.S. Mint building was opened at at Mission and Fifth streets (5 Nov).
1875
Pacific Stock Exchange formally opened (5 June).
Lotta's Fountain, on Market street at Kearny, dedicated (9 Sep). It was presented to the city by Lotta Crabtree, a pioneer stage idol.
1876
First exhibition of public light by Father Joseph M. Neri (4 July).
Southern Pacific line connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco completed (6 Sep).
Diptheria epidemic (Nov).
1877
First Ferry Building built by the Central Pacific and South Pacific Coast railroads.
1878
Principal municipal offices moved to new City Hall at McAllister and Larkin streets (1 July).
1879
The California Electric Light Company was incorporated (30 June). They had the first central generating station in the world for distribution of electricity to customers. New York came later in 1881 and London in 1882.
1880
 
1882
The German Castle was developed by Frederick O. Layman on Telegraph Hill.
Chinese Exclusion Act passed (16 May).
1883 First electric street light erected in front of the City Hall.
1884
Ocean Beach Pavilion opened at Park and Ocean Railroad (12 June).
  Presidio National Cemetery established (12 Dec).
1886
Worker's Parade with an estimated 10,000 marchers (11 May).
1887
Congress granted Seal Rocks to San Francisco (23 Feb).
1889
James Lick Baths, at 10th and Howard streets, opened.
1890
 
1892
United States Quarantine Station opened on Angel Island (1 May).
1893
Fort Miley site awarded to United States Army (23 Jan).
California Midwinter International Exposition/Fair (27 Jan - 4 July).
1894
First Cliff House destroyed by fire (25 December).
1896
Second Cliff House built by Adoph Sutro.
Sutro Baths, built and developed by Adolph Sutro, opened. It contained swimming pools, restaurants, natural history exhibits, galleries, and a garden.
1898
Charles August Fey invents original three reel bell slot machine in San Francisco.
Spanish-American War began when the United States declared war on Spain (10 Apr).
Second (and current) Ferry Building opened (14 July).
Spanish-American War is officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Paris 1898 (12 Aug).
1899
Phillipine-American War began (4 Feb).
1900
 
1902
Phillipine-American War ended (4 July).
1903
Pacific Cable from San Francisco to Phillipines opened via Hawaii and Guam (4 July).
German Castle on Telegraph Hill burnt down (25 July).
1905
Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) was incorporated (10 Oct). Bonds issued over the next year were used to purchase rivals California Gas and Electric Corporation and San Francisco Gas and Electric Company.
1906
On Wednesday morning, April 18 at 5:12 a.m., an earthquake (magnitude 7.8) struck Northern California.
1907
Stock Market Panic.
Graft Prosecution began (18 Mar). It ended two years later. The “Graft Prosecution” was the prosecution of Mayor Eugene E. Schmitz and Abe Ruef, attorney and political boss, and certain public utility officials on extortion and bribery charges. The celebrated trials began in 1907 and continued for two years. Ruef was eventually sent to San Quentin, but Schmidt was let go on a technicality.
Second Cliff House destroyed by fire (7 Sep).
1908
Alcatraz citadel demolished and replaced with present reinforced concrete cellhouse (1908-1911). 
Garfield Permit was signed, giving San Francisco primary water rights to Lake Eleanor and secondary rights to Hetch Hetchy (11 May).
1909
First Portola Festival opened to celebrate recovery from 1906 earthquake and fire (19 Oct).
Third and current Cliff House built.
The Committee on Street Names made a change in about 200 street names.
1910
 
1911
Post Hospital at Presidio renamed Letterman General Hospital in honor of Major Jonathan Letterman (23 Nov).
  Women were given the right to vote in California (10 Oct).
1912
Southern Pacific Railroad terminal was built at Third and Townsend streets in anticipation of the 1915 Exposition.
The ship,Titanic, hits an iceberg and sinks in the north Atlantic Ocean (14 Apr).
1914
The ship, Lusitania, is hit by a German torpedo and sinks off the coast of Ireland (7 May).
Ewing Field, near Masonic Avenue, opened (16 May).
The assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand signaled the beginning of World War I (28 June).
1915
First transcontinental telephone conversation by Alexander Graham Bell (New York) to Thomas Watson (San Francisco) (25 Jan).
Panama Pacific International Exposition (20 Feb - 4 Dec).
Dedication of new City Hall by Mayor James Rolph (28 Dec).
1916
The United States National Park Service is established (25 Aug).
1917
San Francisco Public Library in Civic Center dedicated (15 Feb).
United States declared war on Germany (6 Apr).
Fort Funston named in honor of Major-General Frederick Funston (26 June).
1918
Great Flu epidemic (26 Oct).
1919
The 18th Amendment was added to the Constitution, officially starting Prohibition (of liquor) one year later (16 Jan).
  World War I officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles (28 June).
  Crissy Field, Presidio of San Francisco airport, was dedicated (3 Nov).
James Lick Baths closed (30 Nov).
1920
 
1920
First radio broadcasting station, 6UV operated by the Radio Telephone Shop at 175 Steuart Street, appeared (March).
First transcontinental airmail flight from New York to San Francisco (29 July).
The 19th Amendment is added to the Constitution, giving the right of vote to women (18 Aug).
Ocean Shore Railroad closed (26 Oct).
1923
A portion of Lombard Street was created into “the crookedest street in the world.”
Steinhart Aquarium, Golden Gate Park, opened to public (29 Sep).
1924
Palace of Legion of Honor dedicated (11 Nov).
1925
Embarcadero subway opened (2 May).
Diamond Jubilee Celebration (75th anniversary of California's admittance to Union) (6-12 Sep).
1927
San Francisco Municipal Airport (Mills Field) dedicated (7 May).
Philo Taylor Farnsworth invented and patented the first operational all-electronic "television system." (7 Sep).
California Hockey League created(13 Sep).
1928
Kezar Stadium officially dedicated (13 Sep).
1929
Bayshore Highway, the "Great Highway," opened (20 Oct).
The New York Stock Market crashes to an all time low, signaling the start of the Great Depression (29 Oct).
1930
 
1930
San Francisco Water Department takes over operation of system bought from Spring Valley Water Company (3 Mar).
1931
Seals Stadium officially dedicated (8 Apr).
1933
Lillie Hitchcock Coit Tower officially dedicated (8 Oct).
The 21st Amendment is added to the Constitution, repealing the 18th Amendment and ending Prohibition (5 Dec).
1934
Alcatraz Island turned over to Federal Bureau of Prisons (1 Jan).
Maritime Strike began (9 May).
Bloody Thursday riots of the Maritime Strike (5 July).
Maritime Strike ended (19 July).
Water began to flow from Hetch Hetchy to Crystal Springs Lake (7 Oct).
1936
Lurline Baths, at Bush and Larkin streets, closed (31 Mar).
  Crissy Field abandoned as an Army airport (30 June).
Bay Bridge was officially opened (12 Nov).
1937
The third and current U.S. Mint building was opened on on the block of Duboce, Buchanan, Hermann and Webster streets.
Golden Gate Bridge was officially opened to pedestrian traffic. (27 May) It was opened to vehicular traffic the next day (28 May). 
1939
Aquatic Park dedicated (22 Jan).
First Golden Gate International Exposition opened (18 Feb-29 Oct).
1940
 
1940
Second and last Golden Gate International Exposition (25 May - 29 Sep).
Cow Palace opened (15 Nov).
1941
Japanese forces attack the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii (7 Dec).
World War II began when the United States declared war on Japan (8 Dec).
1942
President Roosevelt signed executive order to allow military commanders to remove
persons of Japanese ancestry from the Pacific Coast (19 Feb).
Navy takes takes possession of Hunter's Point for a naval yard (March).
Evacuation of Japanese began in San Francisco (6 Apr).
1943
Free Farmer's Market opened at Market and Duboce streets (3 June).
1945
German forces unconditionally surrendered (7 May). V-E (Victory in Eurpope)  day celebrated the next day.
United Nations World Charter of Security was signed in San Francisco (26 June).
World War II ended with surrender of Japanese on 14 Aug, and signing of surrender agreement on 2 Sep.
1947
O'Connor Moffat & Co. sold to Macy's (16 Oct).
1948
First telecast in San Francisco (25 May).
1950
 
1950
Korean War officially started when North Korea invaded South Korea (25 June).
1952
Fluoridation of city's water began (26 Aug).
1953
U.S. House Committee on Un-American activities opened hearings (1 Dec).
1954
San Francisco International Airport opened (29 Aug).
1957
Bay Area Rapid Transport (BART) organization created (17 Jan).
Early Friday evening at 7:44 p.m., an earthquake (magnitude 5.3) occurred in Daly City (22 March).
1959
Seals Stadium demolished (11 Nov).
1960
 
1960
Candlestick Park was officially opened. It was named for the nearby Candlestick Cove (12 Apr).
1963
Alcatraz evacuated as Federal Prison (22 Mar).
American and Vietnamese forces staged a coup in Vietnam, signaling the beginning of the Vietnam War (1 Nov).
1964
Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) begins construction (19 June).
Cable Cars declared a National Landmark (1 Oct).
1966
Sutro Baths destroyed by fire (26 June).
Beatles played their last live concert at Candlestick Park (29 Aug).
1967
Summer of Love
1968
Zodiac Killer strikes for the first time in the Bay area (28 Dec).
U.S. astronauts landed on the Moon (20 July).
Native American Indians occupied Alcatraz Island (20 Nov).
Transamerica Pyramid construction began (Dec).
1969
Anti-Vietnam protest with thousands of marchers (15 Nov).
1970
 
1970
Jim Jones opened the People's Temple on Geary Street
  Chinatown Pagoda Gate was officially dedicated (18 Oct). The two-tiered pagoda-style green gate located at Grant and Bush streets was designed by Clayton Lee, and cost the City of San Francisco $75,000. The ceramic tiles on the gate cost an additional $45,000 and were donated by Taiwan.
1971
Fort Point dedicated as a National Park (14 Apr).
The U.S. Government removed the native American indians from Alcatraz Island (11 June).
1972
Transamerica Pyramid was officially opened. It has 48 stories and a 212 foot spire (Summer).
The television show Streets of San Francisco first aired and ran until June 1977 (Sep).
BART carried its first passengers (11 Sep).
Alcatraz Island became a National Park (12 Oct).
1973
Vietnam War was officially ended with the signing of a peace treaty (27 Jan).
Fourth and Townsend Railroad terminal opened (23 June).
1978
Jonestown Massacre in Guyana (18 Nov).
Dan White, a disgruntled ex-city supervisor walked into City Hall and killed Harvey Milk, a popular gay city supervisor, and Mayor George Moscone (27 Nov)
1979
White Night Riots occurred in reaction to sentencing of Dan White (21 May).
1980
 
1981
First Space Shuttle lifted off from Kennedy Space Center (12 April).
1983
United States invades Grenada (25 Oct - Dec).
1986
Challenger Space Shuttle accident (28 Jan).
1989
Late Tuesday afternoon at 5:05 p.m., an earthquake (magnitude 7.1) occurred along the San Andreas fault (17 October).
1990
 
1990
Iraqi forces invade Kuwait, signaling the beginning of the Gulf War (2 Aug).
1991
Gulf War was officially ended with the signing of a cease fire between the United Nations and Iraq (28 Feb).
1992
Cold War was officially ended with the signing of a treaty between United States and Russia (1 Feb).
1993
101 California slayings by John Luigi Ferri (1 July).
1994
Presidio Army base turned over to National Park Service.
1995
Candlestick Park renamed 3Com Park.
1998
Blackout: Tuesday morning at 8:17 a.m., a massive power outage occurred (8 December).
2000
 
2000 Pacific Bell Park official opening game [baseball] (11 April).
2001
Terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centers in New York and the Pentagon (11 Sep).
2004
San Francisco started issuing same-sex marriage licenses (12 February).
California Supreme Court declared 3,955 same-sex marriages in San Francisco invalid (11 March).
2006
100th Anniversary of the great 1906 Earthquake and Fire (18 April).
2008
First legal, same-sex marriage in California performed in San Francisco (16 June).
2010
San Francisco Giants baseball team wins the World Series.

Bibliography
Last Updated: 05 November 2010.
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